NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A recent initiative to control coyotes on Joint Base Charleston ended with six of the invasive animals being removed, Joint Base officials said Tuesday. The removal efforts started in April, and ended June 16.
Two of the animals were trapped near housing areas and the Base Exchange, while the four others were pups found dead by workers at the Air Base Wrenwoods Golf Course, according to JBC spokesman Marvin Krause.
“After careful consideration, it was deemed necessary to neutralize a small number of coyotes to ensure the safety of our base personnel and resources,” Krause said. “The intent is to deter them from inhabiting populated areas of Joint Base Charleston.”
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Krause said details on how the young coyotes died are not known to Joint Base officials, but said he did know the animals were not trapped as the other two were.
When they first announced plans for removing coyotes from the base, Joint Base officials said they would use foothold traps to catch them, administrated by a trained USDA wildlife management contractor following state and federal guidelines.
It is illegal under state and federal law to use any sort of poison to control coyote population. Shooting coyotes is permitted year-round on private lands under certain circumstances and in certain areas.
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Krause said JBC officials have seen a growing number of coyotes on the 23,000-acre base over the last year, including near family housing areas.
“These sightings prompted Joint Base Charleston officials to mitigate the threats to young children and small pets living and playing in base housing areas,” Krause said.
Joint Base Charleston has no plans to continue the coyote removal program at this time, Krause says, but will continue if more sightings are reported.
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Coyotes are an invasive species in South Carolina, as they are not native to the Southeastern United States. They first appeared here in the 1970s, according to the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources.
Studies show coyotes have negative effects on populations of deer through killing fawns, and also on the populations of other small animals they hunt for food.
Coyotes are also known to attack and kill household pets, as they have become increasingly common in urban areas over the years.